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ldchristopher

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  1. Was bracing for you to say Calumet CC. It’s public now but has been sold to a developer. Also a Donald Ross design and still open for another season or two, though it doesn’t have the maintenance budget that Ravisloe has. Might want to get there before it becomes an Amazon warehouse.
  2. If we were riding I think they would have let us play through, but since we were walkers I'm sure that factored into not doing the obvious. People still have this belief that carts play faster. No, playing ready golf, hitting fairways, hitting greens, chipping close, playing from the correct tees, and not grinding over every shot plays faster. Being a dad has mellowed me a bit so I'm softening my anti-cart stance, though I won't take one myself. Anyway, maybe a person is walking or maybe they're riding. But the actual mode of transportation doesn't - or at least shouldn't - matter. Good pace is good pace and bad pace makes me want to claw my eyes out (though not being CPO yesterday at either course allowed the carts to chew up the turf, so maybe I should re-think this newfound mellowness).
  3. With the Packers playing at noon today, Bear and I went up to Wisconsin to hopefully take advantage of empty courses. We definitely wanted to get back to Fire Ridge and, since Washington County is almost impossible to get on these days, that left us with either Mee-Kwon Park (Bear's choice) or Kettle Hills. I sold him on Kettle Hills and...umm...Bear was right. KH is a really nice piece of property with rolling hills, natural terrain, and a nice mix of woodland and parkland holes. This makes sense given how close it is to Erin Hills and Washington County. However, whereas EH and WC were designed by professional course architects, Kettle Hills was designed by the property owner. The end result is a facility with a lot of potential but some serious agronomy issues. Most tee boxes have trees on three sides and, as a result, very little sunlight gets to the turf. With rain last night and during today's round, nearly every box was just mud. Also, the green speeds were wildly inconsistent and several fairways that were tree-lined on both sides were also quite muddy. It was really too bad, because with the leaves changing already that far north, there were some outstanding views. I struck the ball extremely well, with 14 greens in regulation, but couldn't buy a birdie putt. 75. Fire Ridge was in outstanding shape. The greens were very smooth and rolling at about 10, the fairways drained well given the amount of rain they'd gotten over the past 12 hours, and the tee boxes actually had grass on them. The bunkers were very wet and a few low spots were soaked, but overall paying a bit extra was worth it. However... We got stuck behind a foursome on the first tee, which seemed fine at first. They played from the correct tees and we assumed the numerous practice swings they all took were because they had not started playing yet. Surely, they would not each continue to take 7-9 practice swings with a Jason Day alignment routine. And if they did, surely they'd let the twosome behind them go through. You know where this is going. They all did their insane routines EVERY. SINGLE. SWING. They also spent absurd amounts of time looking in the fescue for wayward shots (shockingly, the ridiculous pre-shot measure-measure-swing-swing-swing-half swing-half-swing-half swing-swing-step back-actually make contact approach wasn't effective). Meanwhile, Bear and I both play very fast and were locked in. We reached them on every tee box on the front before they were done yet they didn't offer to let us play through until I finally basically demanded it on 11. Did one guy throw a fit? You know it. However, with bad weather coming in, I was not about to keep standing around. A few holes later a threesome waved us through (hooray for etiquette!) and from there we were home free. I made the turn with a 33 and shot a 37 on the back for a 70.
  4. Everyone in our Charter network was given today off along with Monday so I got in 36 holes at White Hawk. My original plan was to play Harrison Hills and then get White Hawk on the way back but all the grandparents were booked and my brother could only babysit until 4:30. Easy choice course-wise. Black to Silver was really wet. NWI got a lot of rain overnight and the tee boxes and fairways were kind of shaggy. Because Silver needs to play longer. Anyway, I had lots of drives with very little roll but it was definitely scoring conditions with the soft turf and receptive greens. I hit 7/9 greens on Black and 6/9 greens on Silver but couldn’t buy a birdie putt. They must have just had a greens keeper revenge or something because all the pins were cut in brutal spots. All were in back corners or right behind bunkers. Center pins were all cut on the side of ridges. Anyway, I was very happy with my 74. Aside from back to back bogies on Silver 3 and 4, I played very conservative David Simms golf. Grey to Red was outstanding. The mowers had been out and the greens were very smooth. Good pace as well. Probably at 10 or 10.5. I had four great birdie looks on the first four holes but only got one to drop on the third hole. Still, lots of easy pars. More Simms golf. Two bogies on 7 and 9 left me with a 37 at the turn but Red was very getable. No silly pin positions to deal with and it’s under 3300 yards from the Whites. My tee shot on 7 Red hit the stick and trickled to three feet. I almost got to ask if an ace counts if I’m the only one who sees it but it was not to be. Still, -1 on Red for an even par 72.
  5. Broken Arrow this morning with Bear. The course was soaked and there were ponds in all the bunkers on the South course. Whoever designed the sprinkler system there just wasn’t thinking. There were a lot of cars in the lot and we had a 7:30 tee time but we weren’t paired up. They probably should have since we waited on almost every shot because of the twosome in front of us. The bunkers there are always trash but the greens also had marks all over them. It’s not that hard to bend over and fix a ball mark but based on the amount of premium balls (and surlyn junkers) just lying around, the clientele there doesn’t do much bending over. Anyway, I ripped up the front nine, with three birdies (3, 6 and 7) and no bogies. I hit 7/9 greens and was pretty locked in. Then I hit an absolutely massive -at least for me - drive on 10 (1 East) and started chasing distance like a meathead. Made two bad bogies on 12 and 15 but got it together and finished with a birdie on 18 for a -2 70. I’ll take that score any day but it was extra nice since I hadn’t played since last Saturday. Also, since it’s Broken Arrow and the rating and slope are absurdly inflated, today was hands down my lowest index of the year.
  6. Yeah, it’s the Northern burbs answer to Lost Marsh. No course is as comically nuts as Lost Marsh but Arboretum is at least in the ballpark. I was playing there after work once back when I got out early enough to get to a golf course and play 18. Ended up playing behind Gar Foreman and John Paxson. Along with being bad GMs, both were also not particularly good golfers. They each put at least a box of balls in the water.
  7. The bunkers at BA are an embarrassment. Just mud and rocks. Quite a few aren’t even playable unless a player is okay with possibly damaging their wedge. It bugs me that every season they’ve let the bunkers get worse and worse. It’s like Oak Grove. Even with a new shipment of sand, the pile would probably just sit in the parking lot.
  8. The Oakmont of Beecher today. Cardinal Creek for those not in the know on the finest of South Suburban courses. Actually, the greens on 16/18 holes at Cardinal Creek were very good. There were tire marks through one and another were very chewed up but the rest were good. Probably running at 9 once the moisture came off. The tee boxes there are comparable to Jackson Park so that hasn’t changed since I was there last. Most of the course was in good shape, but bunkers were hit or miss. Some just looked like mud while others had a lot of sand in them and were well groomed. Ball striking was excellent, with 9 fairways, 13 greens, 2 birdies (7 Center and 7 North - both are par 3’s) and only one bogey on 9 Center (also a par 3 but I was in the bunker and couldn’t get up and down to save par). Great weather. Mid 50’s and sunny with no wind. 71.
  9. Brighton Dale Links Blue Spruce this morning. Bear called to book the earliest time available (for whatever reason they only allow groups of 3 or more to book online on weekends) and they said they could put us in the first group at 6:30. This was kind of funny since the first posted tee time was 6:37 but there were people teeing off at 6:15. It was still pretty dark then but if others wanna play in darkness that’s their prerogative. The course was playing very firm since while it rained in the city yesterday, no precipitation made it that far north. They haven’t had rain in quite a while and it showed with rock hard rough. The first hole was a disaster for me on what should be an easy hole (Judge Smails block 3 wood off the tee that kicked left, decent hybrid, shanked 50°, so-so chip, 2 putt bogey on a 488 yard par 5) but I got comfortable shortly after. I only hit 8 fairways but I hit 13 greens, made a birdie on 14, and had several other looks. 73. Awesome weather, with high 60’s to low 70’s temps and a nice breeze.
  10. I kind of do this. I guess the direct match for my wedges would be the Honma Rose Proto but the TW747v and the TW-W blend nicely and the profiles on the shafts (Modus 105 and Modus 125, respectively) match up. Both are forged from the same S20C (so 1020) steel and have similar balance and feel. However, most iron companies don’t have wedges that match iron sets.
  11. I played Palmira this afternoon. Wanted to get in a round and didn't want to spend too much. Check and check. The course was in surprisingly good shape. There was a decent amount of sand in the bunkers, the greens were smooth, and the huge area on 5 that used to be a huge, poorly maintained bunker, is now just ground under repair. I thought they would just leave it as a waste area but it looks like they're seeding it. Also, not as many weeds as I expected. I guess all the pesticides they use are doing the trick. That course has the largest football-jersey-on-course count in the area. Bonus points for the two guys I saw who also had costume jewelry gold chains. Exuding class, one person at a time. I played from the tips since from the whites it plays pretty short. That added a few strokes to my score but I finished with a 76.
  12. Yeah, Chapel Hill is on my "won't even bother" list. I played it once and that'll be it. Holes 11-14 might be the ugliest stretch of holes in the Chicagoland area. I get an Edgebrook vibe there.
  13. We played Kettle Moraine GC in Wisconsin on Monday morning. I’d never played there but Bear took a flyer a couple of weeks ago and said it was worth a round. I realize I’m about to write a lot about a course that most of you won’t play but…whatever. There’s a few things to unpack. First, it’s crazy cheap. $24 to walk on a holiday. I get that it’s in Dousman, WI, which is very much the middle of nowhere, but still, it’s 25 minutes from Evergreen and is a considerably more interesting course. Also, the greens were excellent. Not icy fast but probably 9.5 once the dew burned off, very smooth, and with lots of undulation. I just laugh at the course ratings and slope at these Southern WI courses (70.5/124 at Kettle Moraine) compared to much easier courses in the Chicago burbs with inflated numbers. Looking at you Glencoe, Steeple Chase and Midlane. Also, someone had a table of golf balls he found on the course. If there was any doubt that the KSig Performance+ was the number one lost ball in golf, his collection of those put that to rest. Okay, now the bad. I’ve played a lot of golf courses and I’ve never played one with that many doglegs. Holes 4, 9, 12, 16 and 17 were the only non-par 3’s that weren’t doglegs. And these weren’t soft ones that move slightly right to left or left to right. We’re talking 70-90 degree turns. I’m all for courses maximizing length given the footprint the course has to work with but it got silly. Also, it’s not good or bad but it closes with a par 3. It’s not a throwaway 3 and is actually pretty decent aesthetically, but it’s funny that Kettle Moraine and Broadlands are maybe 15 minutes apart and could not be more different course-wise, yet both close with par 3’s. Oh, I shot a 75 with one birdie. I’ll definitely play it again at some point.
  14. My friend and I got paired up with a twosome at Glencoe Golf Club in the Chicago suburbs in about 2012 with two guys named Pete and Joe. Joe was okay. Big hitter but not a lot of control, especially off the tee. Pete was a different story. He was wild off the tee but had old Titleist DCI irons and was throwing absolute darts with them. He was about 215 out on the second hole and stuck a 4 iron to 5 feet. Most people pull out their putter. Not Pete. If the putt was less than 10 feet he just putted with his wedge and made almost every one of them. He said he was a 5 handicap but he shot about a 68 that day.
  15. 36 in Southern Wisconsin today. Round one was at Ives Grove, a course that has become ridiculously popular this year. Maybe it’s the $29 weekend walking rate. The rough was really firm - not total hard pan but not that far off - while the fairways were soaked. The greens were okay but the bunkers were some of the best I’ve played in this year. It’s crazy how much easier it is to get up and down from a trap when there’s lots of sand in the bunker. I realize we paid less than $30 but I woke up at 4:30 to get the first time and not deal with people going off the back. So catching a threesome that was behind a foursome on 15 kinda sucked. I had a very boring front with 9 pars on the red 9 but had three bogies and one birdie on the white 9 for a 74. Round two was at Fire Ridge. We’ve both never played it and I’ve been wanting to for a while. It didn’t feel like any Chicago courses with the elevation changes but was a little bit like Bear Slide in Indy, though Bear Slide is maintained much better. There were some rough edges at Fire Ridge, particularly if one doesn’t hit the fairway, and they need to borrow some sand from Ives for their bunkers. Still, I really liked the layout and the par threes are all excellent aesthetically. I started off with bogies on 1, 3 and 5 before I settled in. I reached number 6 (a short par 5) on the front in 2 and made birdie there then had back-to-back birdies on 12 and 13. I had a chance to shoot even but bogied 18 for a 73. 18 is a tough closer, with a hard left to right dogleg to an elevated green that’s heavily bunkered. All in all, I liked the course and will probably be back in the fall.
  16. Yeah, I’ll second Prairie View. Timber Pointe is okay but they always have pace issues and the course isn’t anything special. PV is a genuinely excellent course that also happens to be insanely cheap.
  17. “Is the steady tortoise going to take down the guy with all the speed?” Bringing the word vomit to broadcast television, I see.
  18. Big Run is in rough shape. The property either has already been sold or is going to be sold. Such a great layout so it’ll be missed. Greens there are very shaggy but they’re always shaggy so that’s not news. Chalet was in very good condition when I last played it and they handle rain well on the back nine. The first seven holes on the front could be iffy since that’s a lower area. Abbey Springs is closed for renovations. They’re doing a green and bunker reno with progress updates on the website. No idea about Hilldale.
  19. Veteran's Memorial Willow Glen this morning with Bear. We had to tee off before sunrise but there was enough light to see everything on the first hole so no issues there. The course is basically the same conditions-wise as last time, which makes sense because we were there a little over a month ago. The first green was pretty gnarly-looking but the rest of the greens were fine and had some decent pace to them. There was no standing water and only a couple of wet spots, though some of the bunkers looked more mud than sand (thankfully I stayed out of the traps today). We played in 2:30, and I’ve gotta say, it’s nice getting in 18 holes and being home just as my daughter is waking up. Willow Glen has its share of long holes, but there are also plenty of scoring opportunities and I cashed in with birdies on 2 and 8. Those were countered with bogies on 10 and 14 but I still managed to shoot an even par 71.
  20. My Brighton Dale Links revenge tour continued with a round at Blue Spruce. My kind of weather today. With the high dew point and mid 80s temps, the ball was flying. I had a few great birdie looks early, including an 8 footer on 1 and a 4 footer on 5. Did I make them? Nope. My round at BDale today was classic for that course. I only hit 3 fairways, including none on the back, yet I hit 12 greens and shot a 74. The rough was basically hard pan. Best hole tee to green was #5. With a back flag and the tee boxes all the way back it was playing about 585. I killed my drive and hit a 5 wood to 75 yards. Stuck the wedge to 4 feet. Let’s not talk about the putt anymore. Blue Spruce isn’t very long at 6687 yards with rock hard rough shortening it by a lot. I had nothing longer than an 8 iron in on the par 4s and 5s (except for 15, since I had to lay up in front of the water in the fairway) so the fact that I couldn’t get a birdie to drop isn’t good.
  21. Prairie Isle today. Not a drive I love doing from the city but it’s tough to beat $29 on a weekend and have the course also be pretty decent. They got whacked by nasty storms last week and there were some uprooted trees on the first few holes as well as lots of other broken tree branches all over the course. It absorbed the rain water just fine though. The greens were running at about a 9 but were pretty smooth and there was no standing water. After playing 21 rounds in July, I’m back to being a weekend only golfer so it took me a few holes to get any type of rhythm going. I had some swings on 2 that looked like I had never swung a club before. A double on a 340 yard hole is never good. My wedge game bailed me out on the front since I only hit three greens but I managed to birdie 8 and eek out a 38 on the front. On the back I played like I actually knew what I was doing and shot even for a 74. I was hitting driver really well and had between 60-105 in on 10, 12, 13, 14, 16 and 18. My full wedge game, however, was terrible. There’s something to be said for getting in a range session when it’s been a while. Bear found some magic with a 2019 ProV1 #10 ball. The Mitch Trubisky ball was far more accurate than the actual Mitch ever was. Bear stuck his tee shot on 17 to a foot from the cup and hit a completely blind approach on 18 to 8 feet.
  22. Everything about Edgewood Pines was crazy in that “definitely never returning” way. Bear touched on the sheer idiocy of the clientele. The tree that was split in half by lightening was less than 100 yards from the 16th green. All four guys putted out as I just tried desperately to find shelter. It wasn’t a case of a group of people with death wishes, it was just a case of room temperature IQs. The course itself, as I found out the hard way, has zero shelters on the course. I foolishly assumed there would be something that kept golfers safe without going all the way to the clubhouse. Nope. I don’t ask for much on a golf course. Decent greens, bunkers with sand, rangers who make sure people keep pace with inclement weather approaching (I’ve played enough golf in my life; I’m not naive enough to think that if I tee off at a course on a Saturday at 10:30 AM when the weather is decent people will make any effort to play in under 4:30), and flat tee boxes. Usually even the dumpiest courses give me two of four. Not Edgewood Pines, where…umm…the tee boxes were flatish?
  23. 36 in Southern Wisconsin today with Bear. Brighton Dale Links White Birch for round one, which is a course that has had my number all season. Well, I got some revenge today with a 2 over 74. It was in pretty good condition and got a bit of much-needed rain over night. The greens were running at their usual 9 but they were very smooth. Next week they host the Kenosha County Open, which means some of the truly tough holes there will be at their absolute max length (hello par 3 12th, which will be playing about 285). Round two was at Edgewood Pines in Big Bend. It’s a semi-private that’s kept in okay shape but runs some of the slowest greens I’ve putted on all season. No exaggeration: they were stimping at 5.5 or 6 max, and that was before the rain that came on 16. My ball striking was really crisp, with 12 greens and two birdies on 1 and 18. Only one bogey (on 5) for a -1 71. The pace was terrible and a lot of the guys on the course were acting like there wasn’t a heavy storm coming directly at us or anything. Absolutely no urgency. Bad pace doesn’t negatively impact me like it does a certain Bear. He looked like he was about to strangle the foursome in front of us, as they did their usual cart guy Benny Hill sketch come to life.
  24. Midlane this afternoon. Bear and I got out ahead of their Men's League. Man, the ongoing drought in Lake County is hitting that course hard. The rough is basically all hardpan and the water hazard on 17 is completely dried out. The fairways were fine, though I wasn't in many of them today. I struggled with the driver and only hit 4. That didn't stop me from racking up pars though. The novelty of having rough that's rock hard is the fact that balls just keep running. The greens were crazy slow. Another example of a course that purposely runs the greens slow, which in turn means every approach leaves a crater. They're trying to gradually cut costs there by shrinking the size of the greens. The comical result is very large fringes on every hole. I only play there once a year but I'm told they were not like that early in the season. Anyway, despite the driver difficulties I hit 12 greens and finished with a 74. We've got two rounds booked for Saturday and hopefully I can get in a round tomorrow afternoon after I set up my classroom. Schools start too early. I miss the CPS calendar.
  25. Closest I ever got was 12 fairways and 16 greens. But at a modern course with super wide fairways and giant greens it feels doable. Now, an old school course with small greens and more narrow fairways? That would be quite an accomplishment.
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